Saturday, 19 October 2013

Sex, politics and the media

I'd be surprised if there was anyone this week who hasn't been aware to some degree of the rather lurid revelations about Len Brown, mayor-elect of Auckland SuperCity, a married man whose had an extra-marital affair over the last couple of years.

Commentators on both sides of the spectrum have launched into print to reveal more facts and background, and have also provided balanced or biased commentary, depending of course on your own viewpoint.

I've read a lot of the stories and commentaries, so I'm not going to rehash those. What follows are just some of my own thoughts which  I haven't seen considered elsewhere - No excuses, no blame, just asking some questions....

How is it that we, as a society, can expect our elected leaders to work 12-16 hours a day, when most of us would be happy working less than eight? How can we justify the effect on their families, whom by all accounts are the most important people in their lives? Is it any surprise that relationships become strained and at risk? Wouldn't you get a bit lonely if you rarely saw or connected with the one to whom you've pledged your undying love? Why do people go into politics anyway?

How is it that when an MP retires, or announces they are not going to stand at the next election, invariably they say it's for the sake of the family? That logic would suggest they went into politics because they wanted to harm their family. Nonsensical. Obviously every decision has a cost, but why must the price be set so high?

Various commentators have suggested that if fidelity was a measure of our representatives, Parliament would be empty. Really? You're telling me 120 of them think bonking outside a committed relationship is okay? I don't think so, but I'd be happy for any of my elected acquaintances to enlighten me.

Apparently adultery is okay, and what happens privately has no bearing on your public life. Tell that to any man or woman who has felt the very real pain of a betrayal. It's a question of broken trust.

In all the commentary, why has no-one considered the fact that the break-down in the marriage would have started long before the affair started? Or have we gone so far down the track of no-fault divorce that we're prepared to accept the concept of a no-obligation marriage?

Is there any chance of forgiveness or reconciliation? Will Mrs Brown take him back? Will his daughters ever be able to look him in the eye? Actually, dear reader, that's none of your business. At that point, while said questions might be in the interest of the public, it is NOT a matter of public interest.

It is perhaps no coincidence that for the last couple of weeks I've been reading and re-reading the book of Hosea, one of the so-called minor prophets of the Old Testament. It's taken a bit of getting my head around, but the guts of it is this: God feels the same way about people who give him the finger and cheat on him, as a husband might feel about his wife who's headed off into whoredom.

And while one should read the whole tale to understand it in full - and yes there are consequences - the Best News is found in the poetry of the final chapter:

"I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from him. I will be like the dew to Israel; He shall grow like the lily, And lengthen his roots like Lebanon. His branches shall spread; His beauty shall be like an olive tree, And his fragrance like Lebanon. Those who dwell under his shadow shall return; They shall be revived like grain, And grow like a vine. Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon."

Yes, God was bitterly disappointed and angry with His people, and for good reason, but in a way that I can only hope to one day truly comprehend, at the end of the story He wanted them back. And that, my friend, is just one of the truths which gives me hope.   J

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